What to Buy at Costco, According to Dietitians
Whether you're in the market for a 64-pack of cushy toilet paper, a brand new dining room set, or an above-ground swimming pool, Costco likely has what you need (and then some). As it turns out, the superstore is also an unsung hero in the healthy food department, providing all the fresh, frozen, and pantry food items your heart and stomach could ever desire — in gigantic quantities, of course.
Here, three registered dietitians share what to buy at Costco to cover all your bases in the kitchen, from quick and convenient breakfast foods to baking essentials you should definitely have on hand. Be warned: You might need a bigger pantry and fridge after stocking up on these bulk buys. (BTW, here's what they'd pick up at Trader Joe's.)
Costco Shopping List #1
The Dietitian: Wintana Kiros, R.D.N., L.D.N., founder of Reset Lifestyle.
One Degree Organic Sprouted Rolled Oats, 5 lbs
For filling breakfasts that'll keep you from visiting the snack cupboard before lunchtime rolls around, stock up on this bulk bag of rolled oats, which contains a whopping 64 servings. Cook the plain oats — which offer 4 grams of fiber (14 percent of the United States Department of Agriculture's recommended daily intake) and 6 grams of muscle-building protein per serving — in milk or water, then jazz it up with your favorite sweetener, fruits, nuts, or seeds, suggests Kiros. And to add a punch of nutrients to your baked goods, blend the oats into a fine powder in a food processor or grinder and replace one-third of your wheat flour with the oat powder in breads, muffins, and more, she says.
Nature's Path Organic Pumpkin Seed + Flax Granola, 35.3 oz
Sure, you could whip up your own batch of hearty granola at home, but this nutritious pick on Kiros' "What to Buy at Costco" list saves you tons of time and energy. Plus, one serving from this bulk bag of granola provides 5 grams of fiber (nearly 18 percent of the recommended daily intake) and 6 grams of protein, says Kiros. "It can be used as a cereal with milk or can be a good topping for a parfait."
Clovis Farms Organic Super Smoothie, 6 Pack of 8 oz Pouches
These perfectly portioned pouches — featuring a mix of frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, kale, spinach, and bananas — cut all the chopping and washing out of your morning smoothie routine, allowing you to sleep a few minutes more. "It's convenient to just throw a pouch into the blender with some juice or water and make a fruit smoothie," says Kiros. Since one pouch packs 7 grams of fiber (25 percent of the recommended daily intake), you won't have to worry about your stomach growling halfway through your morning meeting.
Nature's Intent Organic Chia Seeds, 3 lbs
Chia seeds may be tiny, but they sure are mighty. One serving offers a hefty 10 grams of fiber (more than one-third of the recommended daily intake) and 5 grams of protein. Since they're virtually tasteless and incredibly versatile, you can sprinkle them wherever your heart desires, including on all of the recommended food items above. Another key reason these seeds are on Kiros' "What to Buy at Costco" list: They come in a gigantic 3 lb bag, so you won't need to hit up the grocery store for a refill for a long, long time. (P.S., if you haven't stocked up on hemp hearts, a chia seed alternative, these perks will convince you to add 'em to your cart.)
Amy's Organic Lentil Soup, 8 Pack
Wondering what to buy at Costco in order to create a fully-stocked pantry? Turn to this eight-pack of Amy's Organic Lentil Soup, which comes with four plain and four vegetable-infused cans, all of which are low in sodium, says Kiros. "Between the two options of soup, they have about 7 to 8 grams of fiber and 11 to 12 grams of protein," she adds. "These soups can be a very quick meal, and you can add spices to taste if needed." (Related: 4 Tips to Make Your Homemade Soup Taste Way Better)
Pure Fresh Organic French Beans, 2 lbs
To spend less time prepping and more time eating, add these organic French beans to your shopping cart. Not only do they offer 3 grams of fiber per serving, but they're also pre-trimmed and ready to be cooked, says Kiros. Steam the beans and add them to your plate as a side or roast them and incorporate them into your Buddha bowl.
Seeds of Change Organic Quinoa & Brown Rice, 6 Pack of 8.5 oz Pouches
Let's face it: No one wants to spend an hour hovering over the stove, slow-cooking a batch of rice. And thanks to this best thing to buy at Costco, you don't have to. Just pop one of the quinoa and brown rice pouches in the microwave for 90 seconds, and you've got a hearty base for your roasted veggies. With 5 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein per serving, the grain mixture will ensure you don't wake up in the middle of the night with a rumbling stomach.
Kirkland Signature Organic Mixed Vegetables, 5 lbs
This item on Kiros' "What to Buy at Costco" list makes adding a serving of veggies to your plate a no-brainer. The bulk bag contains 25 servings of a mixture of sweet corn, peas, carrots, and green beans, which is delicious when steamed and combined with the rice mentioned above, says Kiros.
Nature's Bakery Fig Bars, 36 Pack
For on-the-go snacking that's nutritious and sweet-tooth-satisfying, stock up on this variety box of fig bars, which includes OG fig, blueberry, and raspberry flavors, suggests Kiros. The soft and chewy bars are dairy-free, vegan, and made from whole wheat flour and oats, giving you 3 to 4 grams of filling fiber per serving, she adds.
Costco Shopping List #2
Wild-Caught Sockeye Salmon, 1 lb
Whether you're a pescatarian or just tired of eating chicken every single night, this sustainably sourced salmon will help you get your daily fill of protein. After all, sockeye salmon packs a mighty 24 grams of protein per serving, according to the USDA. Plus, it's also one of the top food sources of vitamin D (a nutrient that supports bone health), with a 3-ounce serving providing nearly five times the amount found in a cup of 2 percent milk, says Kimball. "It's also one of the best sources of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids with a natural anti-inflammatory effect that also appear to benefit our brain function and our mood," she says.
Kevin's Natural Foods Thai-Style Coconut Chicken, 1 lb
Despite taking just five minutes and one skillet to prepare, this heat-and-eat meal packs a ton of flavor, including lemongrass, lime, and ginger. Considered one of the best things to buy at Costco, this chicken doesn't skimp on protein either, providing you with 23 grams per 5-ounce serving, says Kimball. What's more, "the ingredient list is impressive: antibiotic-free chicken, with zero preservatives, centered on ingredients that we could conceivably have in our kitchen," she notes. In other words, you could easily stock up on the individual ingredients (i.e. skinless chicken breast, coconut milk, coconut oil, lime juice, lemongrass, and seasonings) and prepare the dish yourself, but why bother when the dirty work has already been done for you?
Real Good Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce, 6 Pack
When you've got a serious hankering for Mexican food, skip the takeout and opt instead for one of these low-carb, gluten-free enchiladas. "This is one of those try-it-before-you-judge-it kind of frozen entrées," says Kimball. "There's no flour, no starch of any type. In fact, the tortilla is a blend of chicken and cheese (which tastes surprisingly good) and is filled with chicken and topped with a sauce of tomatillos, jalapeños, and spices." Thanks to this innovative recipe, you'll score 20 grams of protein in just one enchilada, she adda. (If you're in the mood to cook, try one of these homemade enchilada recipes.)
Three Bridges Spinach & Bell Pepper Egg White Bites, 4 2-Packs
"If you can't stop thinking about Starbucks' Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Sous Vide Egg Bites, you'll love having these Spinach and Bell Pepper Egg Bites in your fridge, ready [to eat] in just 90 seconds," says Kimball. The mini muffin-shaped bites contain egg whites, cottage and Monterey Jack cheeses, creamy yogurt, and crisp veggies, and as a result, offer 15 grams of protein in one two-bite package. Your wallet and muscles will definitely approve of this item on your "What to Buy at Costco" shopping list.
Nuttzo Power Fuel Nut & Seed Butter, 26 oz
Plain almond and peanut butters are delicious and all, but a spread that blends a variety of nuts and seeds — without any added sugar — is sure to excite your taste buds. "With its medley of cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hazelnuts, and pumpkin seeds, Nuttzo takes things to a whole other level with a crunchy seediness that's like no other," says Kimball. Not to mention, a 2-tablespoon serving of this spread offers 6 grams of protein and 13 grams of unsaturated fats, which help curb your risk of heart disease and lower LDL cholesterol levels when they replace saturated fats in the diet, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Volupta Organic Fair Trade Cacao Powder, 2 lbs
If you're a self-described chocoholic, keep this best thing to buy at Costco in your pantry at all times. "Cacao beans are rich in flavonols, antioxidants with whole-body health benefits," explains Kimball. "Unlike cacao beans that are processed to become chocolate or sugary cocoa blends, cacao powder retains these powerful compounds."
To get that chocolatey flavor and those health perks, incorporate the cacao powder into baked goods, add it to your morning smoothie, or craft a homemade hot chocolate, suggests Kimball. Just combine one tablespoon of cacao powder, one tablespoon of sweetener, and one cup of milk, warm the mixture over medium heat on your stove for five minutes, and voilà, you've got yourself some good-for-you cocoa. (Related: I Look Forward to a Cup of This Chocolate-Spiced Beverage Basically Every Day)
Kirkland Signature Almond Flour, 3 lbs
For gluten-free, low-carb, and protein-packed baked goods, swap your white or whole wheat flour with this almond flour, which contains 75 percent fewer carbs and 50 percent more protein than wheat options, says Kimball. "If you're substituting it for regular all-purpose flour, you may need to use more — up to about 50 percent more," she adds. "You'll also likely need to use less liquid, often about half of what the recipe calls for."
Whole Earth Stevia Leaf & Monk Fruit Sweetener, 400 ct
To add a touch of sweetness to your bowl of oatmeal, chocolate-banana smoothie, or baked goods without having to deal with a sugar crash later, consider subbing this blend of plant-based sweeteners (including erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit) for standard sugar. "These sweetener packets have zero calories with zero net carbs — and zero glycemic impact, meaning it won't spike your blood sugar or insulin levels," explains Kimball.
Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder with Probiotics, 2.7 lbs
It's not *technically* a food, but this protein powder deserves a spot on your "What to Buy at Costco" list. Remember, protein is essential for maintaining healthy bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood, as well as recovering post-workout, says Kimball. "And while it's absolutely possible to get enough protein through whole foods in our diet, supplementing with a protein powder makes it easier and more convenient than ever," she adds.
Her pick: Orgain's plant-based protein powder, which provides 21 grams of protein — roughly the equivalent of three ounces of meat — in just two scoops, she says. You can go the traditional route and blend the powder into shakes, smoothies, or coffee, but if you'd rather eat your protein, incorporate it into your baked goods, waffles, pancakes, and oatmeal, suggests Kimball.
Costco Shopping List #3
The Dietitian: Amy Davis, R.D., L.D.N.
Kirkland Signature Individually Wrapped Wild Sockeye Salmon, 3 lbs
No, you're not seeing double on this list of what to buy at Costco. Just like Kimball, Davis recommends sockeye salmon for its high protein content, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins, which help the body turn food into energy. But to make weeknight dinners even less stressful, she suggests stocking up on the individually wrapped version from Costco. "Simply defrost, season, bake, and pair with a veggie for an easy, healthy dinner," she says.
Maas River Farms Organic Riced Cauliflower, 4 lbs
While whole grain rice is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, it's considered a high glycemic index food, meaning it can cause spikes in blood sugar, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. On the flip side, cauliflower (even in rice form) is considered a low GI food, and, according to Davis, "is such a great way to add nutrition and volume to your meals with little to no calories, fat, sodium, or carbs." Swap your brown rice for its cauliflower cousin in stir-fries and grain bowls, add it to oatmeal, blend it in smoothies, or incorporate it into soup, suggests Davis. "And for all the rice lovers out there, try half rice, half cauliflower rice and you won't even know the difference (probably)," she says. (ICYDK, cauliflower is seriously good for you.)
Caesar's Kitchen Chicken Marsala With Cauliflower Rice, 40 oz
For a restaurant-worthy meal that takes just minutes to prepare, turn to this pre-made chicken marsala dish. Instead of white rice, this meal features low-carb cauliflower rice, which gets a flavor boost from the mushroom-loaded marsala wine sauce. "With only 200 calories per serving, 18 grams of protein, and all-natural ingredients, this is an easy and nutritious option for anyone looking for a comforting meal," says Davis.
Amy Lu Organic Chicken Kale Mozzarella Burger, 2 lbs
Take your family BBQ to the next level by adding these frozen patties to your "What to Buy at Costco" shopping list. A combo of chicken, kale, mozzarella, caramelized onions, and spices, these burgers provide 21 grams of protein, 170 calories, and just 8 grams of fat per serving — one-third of the amount found in a standard beef patty. Tuck a patty in a whole wheat bun with your favorite fixings or crumble one up and toss it with some greens for a hearty salad, suggests Davis.
Three Bridges Spinach and Bell Pepper Egg Bites, 4 2-Packs
Once again, two nutrition experts are voicing their approval for an item on this guide to what to buy at Costco. Davis loves these egg bites for making breakfast feel less like a chore, while still keeping the sugar and carb content low, something other convenient breakfast options fail to do, she says.
Off the Eaten Path Veggie Crisps, 20 oz
While no snack can fully stand in for classic potato chips, these vegan veggie crisps come pretty darn close. A blend of rice, peas, and black beans, this munchie provides 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of plant-based protein per serving. "Plus, they have an irresistible crunch that's delicious as is, or even better when dipped in hummus or salsa," says Davis.
Wildbrine Organic Raw Green Sauerkraut, 50 oz
You've long been told that probiotics are the key to supporting a healthy gut, but that doesn't mean they're easy to come by. Your solution: Adding this sauerkraut, which Davis calls a great source of probiotics, to your "What to Buy at Costco" list. "This organic, tangy, fermented cabbage is great on avocado toast, mixed into salads, layered in sandwiches, or even eaten alone as a snack," she says.
Damascus Bakery Flax Roll-Ups, 16 ct
Pita bread and tortillas may be your go-to vessels for compact lunches, but you might want to consider adding these Flax Roll-Ups — a lavash-style, soft and thin flatbread — to the line-up. "Lavash wraps are such an underrated food," says Davis. "Each of these wraps has only 80 calories, 11 grams of carbs (six coming from fiber), and packs in 7 grams of protein." For a portable lunch, top a wrap with turkey, mixed greens, carrots, onions, and spicy mayo, then roll it up in foil, she suggests. "You can also dip these wraps in tzatziki, pesto, or your favorite dip," she adds. (Related: This Genius TikTok Wrap Hack Turns Any Dish Into a Portable, Mess-Free Snack)
Kirkland Signature Almond Flour, 3 lbs
If two dietitians call out one flour as one of the best things to buy at Costco, you know it's worth adding to your cart — even if you aren't following a low-carb diet or eating gluten-free. "Many grain-free, low-carb desserts call for almond flour, and you'll be amazed at how similar it is to the real thing," says Davis. "Some of my favorite desserts to make with almond flour are these Keto Chocolate Cupcakes and this Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet." Drooling yet?
Inno Foods Organic Almond Nuggets, 16 oz
Yes, even dietitians recommend adding a treat to your "What to Buy at Costco" shopping list. "These little clusters are made up of almonds and seeds, are covered in dark chocolate, and have only 90 calories and 4 grams of added sugar per serving," says Davis. To boost the nutritional content of your midnight snack, pair a handful of the nuggets with some berries, she suggests.